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Confidential informant testimony did not hinder defense

December 6, 2011

A man who was arrested after a confidential informant arranged drug buys was not hindered by the fact that the informant testified at trial anonymously, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

In Tyronne Dickerson v. State of Indiana, No. 45A04-1104-CR-160, Tyronne Dickerson appealed his convictions of three counts of Class A felony dealing in narcotics.

The case involves two controlled drug buys on Jan. 25 and 28, 2010. In each instance, Dickerson delivered heroin to the same confidential informant – a friend whom Dickerson had known since 2008. Audio and video recordings were made of each transaction, and police maintained visual surveillance of the first. During the second transaction, Dickerson removed the drugs from a cigarette box located within the console of the vehicle he drove to the scene.

In his appeal, Dickerson claimed the court erred by allowing the informant to testify anonymously. The COA rejected that claim, holding that Dickerson acknowledges that he did not object to the limitations placed upon his cross-examination of the confidential informant at trial. The appeals court held that Dickerson, by way of appeal, attempted to circumvent waiver by alleging fundamental error. But the court wrote that Dickerson would need to prove that testimony by the confidential informant seriously and substantially tainted the entire trial. Dickerson did not prove that claim, and the COA affirmed the trial court.

 

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